waiter

Of all the jobs I've had in my adult life, none was as stressful as being a waiter. To this day it's the only job I had that gave me nightmares. I mean that literally. I would go home to my apartment in Scottsdale, Ariz., at midnight after a long Saturday night shift at the Monterey Whaling Company (there were no actual whales involved, because desert) finally decompress around 2 a.m. and go to sleep.

And then I'd wake up at 3 o'clock in a panic: I forgot to greet the people at table four who were sat late in my station. And in that moment of alarm I would imagine that they were still sitting there waiting for their waiter. Even though the restaurant had been closed for four hours. I had that same nightmare on multiple occasions.

It turns out I'm not the only one to ever experience that stress.

According to this article from Vice, a scientific study has determined that the job of waiter is more stressful than being a neurosurgeon. The study classified jobs according to levels of demand and control. Neurosurgery has high demand, but the doctor also has a high level of control. The study determined that a waiter has high demand but low control over the situation.

Hmmm, I'm not sure I totally agree with that. Anyone who has read my reviews for any length of time knows that I'm a stickler for good service. It isn't because I don't know that it is a demanding job, it's because I know that when something goes wrong -- and something will go wrong -- the waiter has, or should have, the ability to make it right. You don't get much more control than that.

Servers, what do you think? Do you find waiting tables stressful? And how many of you are working in a restaurant while going to school to become a neurosurgeon? Leave a comment below.

FandD interior

I’m not sure I would call F&D Cantina a sister restaurant to F&D Kitchen and Bar, the Lake Mary restaurant that opened in 2015. Other than the initials, which unimaginatively stand for Food and Drink, and, obviously, ownership, there aren’t many comparisons to be drawn. There isn’t even much of an effort to make a connection by the two entities, other than a small link on the Lake Mary F&D website to an Orlando Business Journal article about the “soon to open” Cantina.

The two are different concepts, which, for the Cantina, is a good thing. If you guessed that the concept here is Mexican, you’d be correct. But the way it is presented is a bit curious.

The menu is divided into sections with headings like “dip,” Social eats,” “Plates,” “Soups,” and “Greens.” Then there’s a separate section called “Mexican Stuff,” though there’s a Carne Asada under the “Plates” heading and another separate section called “Tacos.” Not sure why tacos aren’t considered Mexican but I do give kudos for not including the nachos among the Mexican Stuff. Points taken away, however, just for including nachos on the menu after the OBJ article quoted Charly Robinson, the F&D developer, that the menu would be authentic Mex, not Tex-Mex. (Complimentary chips and salsa are also proffered, a concept that definitely originated north of the wall.)

But let’s not niggle. You want to know how the food was.

Maddeys interior

By my calculation, Maddey’s Craft & Cru has been in the planning stage for about two years. Thursday, June 30, it finally opens officially in the former Church Street Station.

It is the project of Jason Schofield, who we last saw overseeing White Wolf Cafe and the opening of sister restaurant PizzaMia. At PizzaMia, Schofield showed a talent for lifting everyday dishes out of mundanity. He’s doing the same thing at Maddey’s.

I stopped in on one of the nights the restaurant was holding dress rehearsal. There were still plenty of kinks to work out, chiefly among the servers, but I’ll not pounce on that at this time.

STK sign

I had visited STK at Disney Springs prior to it opening, and I was at the rather frantic grand opening event. But I was delighted to be invited back recently to experience it as a full, working restaurant.

Turns out it isn’t a lot less frantic on an average day. Your first clue to what the sound level will be is the DJ booth, which sits prominently, raised like a pulpit, at the entrance to the main first-floor dining room. Let’s just get this out of the way, folks: This isn’t a place for quiet conversation.

But the food is quite good, and the menu, under the direction of chef James O’Donnell, thoughtfully goes beyond the meat that the vowelless name would suggest.

frontera interior

Frontera Cocina by Rick Bayless has opened at Disney Springs. The restaurant is an offshoot of the six-time James Beard Award winner's Frontera franchise out of Chicago.

According to a statement, the concept will include a quick-service taco counter. 

Executive Chef Stephen Hicks will oversee Frontera Cocina’s kitchen. Hicks has served as cook and lead in the kitchens of the River Club in Jacksonville, Florida; Sapphire Grill in Savannah, Georgia; and Seasons 52 in Orlando, Florida. Hicks also spent time as a multi-unit chef in Chicago with McCormick & Schmick’s.